New Zealander Dominic Storey has been left ruing what might have been after a massive blunder from his team cost the Aucklander of winning the inaugural Hampton Downs 101 on Sunday.
Storey and co-driver Peter Hackett were in control of the race as cars began to take their final pit-stops but they failed to keep their car still long enough and were forced to make another stop while essentially leading the race.
Each car is given a minimum time that it must be held in the pits based on the combined experience of the drivers but the Autex Mercedes left eight seconds too soon.
After serving the penalty Storey dropped out of contention but he posted some lightning-fast laps to move back up to finish seventh.
"I am probably the most gutted I have ever been in my life," Storey told herald.co.nz. "That was definitely our race to lose and it was just a stupid error.
"I am not going to hold it against the team. It was definitely our race to lose - we showed that with the pace at the end by setting the lap record a few times."
The entire team was shattered after watching the Lamborghini of David Russell and Roger Lago win the race.
"Everyone is pretty dejected - when it is the human element it probably hurts more than a mechanical failure because it is preventable," Storey said.
"The car is in one piece and we will get it down to Highlands and prep it and hopefully get a win down there."
The series finale is at Highlands Motorsport Park near Cromwell in a fortnight and Storey will go there in contention for the Australian GT Endurance Championship - trailing only Nathan Morcom and Grant Denyer's McLaren. That car was involved in a last lap incident yesterday and is likely to be penalized for being at fault, which could see the championship gap close even further.
"I haven't seen any footage of it yet but looking at the damage to their car and talking to the team it seems most likely they will get a penalty.
"I am just more determined to win the race there and put what happened this weekend right."